March 24 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Deliver us when we draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind; Grant that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, we may worship you in Spirit and in truth. Amen. (Venite by Robert Benson)
Scripture Reading for the Day: Luke 14:25-35
Journal: How do these words of Jesus strike you? How do they disturb you? How do they inspire you? How do they challenge you? How does your love for Jesus compare to your love for the other things in your life?
Reflection: It seems like a pretty extreme statement doesn’t it? It’s very disturbing and disruptive, especially to our “have our cake and eat it too” mentality. Somehow we have tried to tame Jesus and his words. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that we can be “half in.” But Jesus will not stand for that. He will not settle for less. He will not be tamed. He is wild and free. He is disruptive and disturbing. As John Powell once said. “He comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.” You cannot “buy him” in small quantities, with him it is “all or nothing.” Our problem is that we tend to want a limited quantity of him; five dollars’ worth, if you will. We want just enough to make us comfortable, but not so much that it disturbs our lives or disrupts our plans and agendas. But of course, Jesus will not operate by our rules. That’s just the way he is. And as you read Luke 14:25-35 that becomes pretty clear.
Jesus doesn’t just desire our love and allegiance, he demands it. In fact, if in comparison to our love for him we don’t “hate” all else, we are not worthy of him. There is no room for negotiation, no room for debate. His love for us demands our full love and allegiance in return. If, indeed, we really want to follow him we can only do so with all of our being.
One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters - yes, even one’s own self - can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
“Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’
“Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?
“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.
“Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it’s useless, good for nothing.”
“Are you listening to this? Really listening?” (Luke 14:25-35, The Message)
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
J & M have begun their fourth year of serving in Asia using the platform of micro finance lending to engage in church planting with holistic development. They have sought to be deeply immersed in the language and culture and continue their work with a micro finance company. Pray today for good health for M and their new child to be born this summer.
The CSPC Adoption Ministry is a group of individuals and families who have a heart for adoption and foster care and for providing support for other individuals and families starting or going through the adoption/foster care process. Pray today for couples who need the support of other adoptive parents to be reached by this ministry.
Closing Prayer: Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me. - Ignatius Loyola